Formerly Shea Family Chiropractic

Let me start out this post by saying that as a chiropractor, one of my specialties is treating CrossFit athletes. With all the injured CrossFit patients I see, you may imagine that I might not be a big fan of the sport. On the contrary, I am an enthusiastic CrossFitter and so is my wife. My practice actually shares a building with a CrossFit box (the wonderful CrossFit Barracks run by my good friends Jared and Mallory San Nicolas). I work with so many CrossFit athletes precisely because I am passionate about the sport and have many contacts in the community. I participate in CrossFit, because I believe it is the best way to increase my fitness in a challenging and rewarding environment. With all that said, is CrossFit dangerous? Yes, to some extent, but so is every sport. Lifting a heavy box and putting it on a shelf is also dangerous. Whenever you move, you put yourself at some risk of injury. As CrossFit has grown in leaps in bounds over the last few years (there are currently over6,000 affiliate CrossFit boxes around the world), I’ve seen and heard more concerns raised about the safety of CrossFit. Let’s be honest – the sport of CrossFit involves athletes moving heavy weights and performing highly-technical movements. Combine heavy weights and technical movements with bad technique and injuries are likely to occur. But wait, notice the third ingredient in my list for instant injury – poor technique. The most common injuries in CrossFit occur when someone tries to do something that they are not trained for or perform a move with poor technique – usually both. I’ve found that whenever a sport calls for lifting heavy weights or doing challenging moves, there is invariably a contingent of athletes who will try to lift more weight than they can do so safely or will try to perform difficult moves before they have mastered the correct technique. These types of injuries are not indicative that the sport is inherently flawed or dangerous; only that it requires athletes to train and perform smart. There is no movement in CrossFit that I consider to be highly dangerous if performed with good technique. Even cleaning, snatching or deadlifting hundreds of pounds can be completely safe if the athlete uses the correct technique and can physically accommodate the weight. Unfortunately, CrossFit injuries will continue to occur. In some instances, coaches may allow athletes to progress too quickly

If you are an American, chances are that when you see the words “back pain” you wince with the memory of your own current or previous pain. That’s right, back pain is just as much a part of the American experience as apple pie, baseball and a never-ending fascination with reality television. Back pain, especially low back pain, is the number one symptom that patients report to me when they first walk through the doors of my clinic. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), half of all Americans admit to experiencing back pain EACH YEAR. If you are fortunate to not have back pain this year, then just look around the room and you’re likely to lay eyes on someone who has (assuming you’re not alone when you read this). Why are Americans so susceptible to back pain? Well, to be fair, back pain is a universal malady. The ACA reports that low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, so we Americans are not alone. However, back pain is a huge problem in the United States, costing us approximately $50 billion annually (another handy stat from the ACA). Where is all this back pain coming from? While back injuries can be caused by specific traumas, like falls, the majority of back pain arises simply from lifestyle habits. Americans sit. We sit a lot. Sitting and leading a sedentary lifestyle causes important stabilizer muscles in our bodies to atrophy. Without strong stabilizer muscles to hold our bodies in alignment, over time, we lose alignment. When we fall out of alignment, our bodies will naturally try to compensate to avoid pain. We may push our heads forward, bring one shoulder up, step with the inside of our foot, and all sorts of other things without even being aware of the changes! Misalignments cause subluxations. Subluxation is a big word, but it’s important to understand with regard to chiropractic care. The spinal column encases the spinal cord, a big bundle of nerves that sends messages back and forth between the brain and all the muscles and organs of your body. A subluxation occurs when a misaligned joint puts pressure on the spinal column. As you can imagine, the result is pain, pain and more pain. Athletes are not safe! Many weekend warriors and fit adults still spend many hours each day sitting or being otherwise sedentary. They can be just as out of alignment as non-athletes. What’s worse is that

Somehow the old perception of the chiropractor as a back-cracker is still alive and kicking. Some of the adult patients who come to my practice are nervous about their first appointment, so it’s not surprising that many parents are skeptical about putting their children on a chiropractor’s table. Is chiropractic care safe for children? The answer is yes, but I would even go a step further and say that most children will benefit greatly from chiropractic care. First, let’s answer the safety question, and then I’ll explain what chiropractic care can do for children. Most chiropractic sessions do include a few cracks and pops. These noises are not bones being roughly twisted or pushed into place. In most cases, the popping sound is only escaping gases inside a joint as it moves back into correct position. Children tend to have more flexible joints than adults, which usually makes them easier to adjust. They also require less pressure and force due to their small body size. With children and adults, I will never force a joint to move that doesn’t want to move. In cases where a joint is stubborn, I’ll simply ask the patient back for a follow up appointment in the next day or two, and we’ll try again, using gentle pressure until the joint is ready to move. There is absolutely no danger to bringing a child to a trained chiropractor. We understand that children’s bodies are different than adults, and we know how to moderate pressure and force for each child’s unique body. Chiropractors can even safely adjust infants and toddlers. I can already hear your next question. So, even if chiropractic care is safe for children, why would a child even need to go to a chiropractor? Would you be surprised to learn that many children, even young children, are already out of alignment and have notable subluxations (pressure on the spinal column)? I’ve known parents who shake their head at this news. Many tell me, “But my child isn’t in pain!” Most children don’t suffer from back pain, low back pain, tight neck muscles and tight shoulders like adults. That’s because, the body is very good at compensating for misalignments to avoid pain. When you feel pain, it’s usually because your body has been compensating for poor posture for years or even decades and can’t compensate anymore! Pain takes years and years to rise to the surface, but it could all start with subluxations of the spine